Mango Achar (Mango pickle II)

Ingredients
Mangoes – 2 Cut into small square pieces
chili pwd – 4 T
salt – 3T
Asafoetida – 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric pwd – 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Oil -1 T

Method
Heat oil in a pan. To that add mustard seeds. When it pops reduce heat to low and add chili pwd, salt, asafoetida, turmeric and stir fry about 3 min. Turn off the heat. Let it cool for a while.

Add this mixture to the cut mangoes and mix thoroughly. Keep this for 7-8 days for the flavour to seep into mangoes. You can add a little bit of distilled vinegar if you like. It will help to keep the freshness.
Source: Hem Ramachandran

Kazhikutta (Kerala Coconut Dumplings)

Ingredients
Mix together:
4 Tbs. shredded unsweetened coconut
1 Tbs. sugar or jaggery (brown sugar)
1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. water
In separate bowl, mix:
1 c. rice flour

Method
Enough water to form a dough (about 3/4 c.)

Form a dough from the rice flour and water. When formed, coat your hand with extra flour to prevent sticking, and take a ping-pong sized ball of dough and flatten.

Place about a marble-sized amount of the coconut mixture in the middle of the dough. Close the dough around the coconut to form a ball. Roll in hand until well formed. Repeat the above until all of the rice flour dough is used. Steam the dumplings for 10 minutes.

Delicious for breakfast or with afternoon tea. It is a specialty of Kerala, and in Malayalam it is called “kazhikutta.”

Pulisseri (yogurt curry)

Ingredients
1/2 Onion, cut into small pieces
2 or 3 Green chile, cut long
1/4 tsp. Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. chile powder
1/4 tsp. methi (uluva/fenugreek) powder
1/4 tsp. cumin (jeerakam) powder
oil
salt
mustard seeds
curry leaves
1 or 2 zuchini squash/chayote squash/green apple (grannysmith), cut into pieces
2 c. Yogurt (wholemilk one is better), whipped well.

Method
Heat oil, fry mustard seeds, then add onion, green chile and stir for a while.

Then add curry leaves (optional), and then all the powders and salt. Stir for a few seconds, then add the veg. pieces, and a cup of water. Cover it and cook. When cooked, take it off the stove, and after a while (when cooled down a bit) add the yogurt to it, stir well.

And it is ready!

Note: (You can use ripe mango instead of squash/apple if you like. Also, you can add coriander leaves if you like.)

Source: Mareena Yesudas

Thoran (vegetables simmered in coconut milk)

Ingredients
1/2 lb. Beans/Carrot/Yellow or Mexican Squash/Beetroot
note: If using Carrot or Beetroot, grate them. If others, cut them into small pieces (cubes). You can also use carrot and beans together; then cut carrots too into small cubes.
1/2 tsp. chile powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 c. dessicated/shredded coconut
1/3 onion cut into small pieces
oil
salt
mustard seeds
curry leaves (optional).

Method
Heat oil, fry mustard seeds, then add onion, and stir until it turns light brown. Then add
salt, then chile and turmeric, and stir well. Add coconut, stir well for while, and then add
the veg. Cover it and cook on a low flame. Give a stir once a while between a couple of
minutes, until it is cooked. Thoran ready! (You can add cumin powder [a pinch] too if you
like.)
Source: Mareena Yesudas

Upperi (Mezhukkupuratti)

Ingredients
3/4 lb. Beans/Carrot/Snow peas/Asparagus/potato/etc
note: Cut them into small pieces (grate carrot/beetroot – optional)
1/3 onion cut into small pieces
3/4 tsp. crushed red chile

oil
salt
mustard seeds
curry leaves (optional)
garlic (if you like; crush them)

Method
This is a stir-fry. Heat oil, add mustard seeds (if you are using it), then add onion (and garlic if you are using it), stir until it turns light brown, add salt, and then crushed chile; stir well for a while until the chile is well fried (mookkunnathuvare). Then add veg., stir well, cover it and cook in a low flame, and it is ready! (You can cook parippu, cherupayar, vanpayar, kadala, etc. too the same way. First you have to cook (boil) them, and add salt to
it when cooked. Also to the split peas and cherupayar, you can add 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, after frying crushed chile, if you like. When cooking kadala, you can add a teaspoon of garam masala too if you like, after adding crushed chile.)

Source: Mareena Yesudas

Richard’s All Continents Guaranteed Idli

Ingredients
1 cup black gram (urad) dal
1 teaspoon methi (fenugreek) seed (optional)
1/4 cup flattened rice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 cups idli rice (or plain white rice, par-boiled, or whatever you have)
1/2 tsp salt
spray oil, melted butter, or ghee for greasing steaming plate

Equipment
Pressure cooker with weight removed
Powerful blender or specialized idli grinder such as Ultra Grind+
Idli steaming plates or egg poacher

Method
Lightly wash dal, and cover with water and allow to soak for 3 to 4 hours. Wash the rice, cover with water, and allow to soak 3 to 4 hours as well. If using methi and/or flattened rice. add to rice.

Grind rice to the consistency of cream of rice in blender or Ultra Grind.

Grind urad to a fine paste, and then grind together until mixed well. You can simply add the dal to the ground rice mix in an Ultra Grinder, but I don’t recommend this trick in a blender.

Place in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and put in a warm place to ferment until double in bulk. A good place is an oven pre-warmed to 130-160 degrees Fahrenheit and kept warm by a 40 watt light bulb in an automotive trouble light. An ice chest warmed with the trouble light will work as well.

The process is similar to making bread or yogurt. The amount of time the rising will take depends on the temperature: The batter will double in 8 hours if the temperature in the container is over 85 degrees, and at lower temperatures it can take as long as 30 hours. If the batter doesn’t rise, don’t despair, just find a warmer place.

Some people substitute rava (sooji, cream of wheat) for rice, especially in colder climates like the Frisco Bay Area, because their batter doesn’t rise. This is an unnecessary compromise, and people so inclined may just has well go to the Pasand Restaurant and eat their idli bricks.

The fermentation process depends on the presence of wild yeast, which appears to stick well to the urad dal and to the methi.

Don’t use baking soda, baking powder, yeast, or yogurt to “help” fermentation. I’ve conducted controlled experiments on these agents, and methi outperforms them. Baking soda, baking powder, and yogurt retard fermentation, but a little baking soda or powder added just before cooking makes for a fluffier idli, which is what you want.

After your batter has gone nuts, you are ready to make idlis. Add salt and baking soda or powder and stir it into the batter slightly, just enough to evenly distribute the powder and not enough to make the bubbles completely subside.

Put an inch or so of water in the pressure cooker and let it heat to boiling while you load the idli plates with batter. Grease idli plates (you can probably use egg poachers if you want, but I never have) with spray-on oil, butter, or ghee and fill them (almost full) with the idli batter. It’s best to leave a gap of 1/4 to 1/8 inch. After all are loaded, place the plate in the pressure cooker and lock the lid on with the weight removed, as you want to steam the idlis, not pressure cook them.

Set the temp high enough for a steady stream of steam, but not so high that it spits. The idlis need to steam for 15-20 minutes.

Eat with coconut chutney, idli chutney powder, or Sambar. Extras can be refrigerated or even frozen and re-heated in a microwave, but they won’t be as fluffy. The same idli batter can be use to make dosa (fry like pancakes) and Sannan (steam.)

Idli plates can be purchased at your local Indian grocery or on-line. I prefer the teflon coated plates. If you don’t have a fancy grinder, you can buy pre-ground rice and dal, prepared idli mix, and ready-made batter from the better Indian grocery stores. You can also buy pretty decent frozen coconut chutney and idli podi (AKA chutney powder) at the same shops, but you may as well make your own Sambar because it’s not that hard.